Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Eve

Christmas was tight this year money-wise so it was pretty stressful.  I thought it was one of my more favorite Christmas' though.  I spend quality time with Craig, friends, family and went geocaching.  I thought I would share some of my Christmas Eve with everyone.

Here is a picture of our "Christmas tree"!

I know, I know, we are so nerdy!  I know you were all thinking that when you see a Han Solo cardboard cutout in my living room.  And you are right.  Craig and I could not afford a Christmas tree so we had to make do with what we have.  I think he is a wonderful Christmas tree!

This is our fireplace lit up.  A stocking for me, Craig and our kitty, Luke.

Lindsey and Phil came over for lunch. Lins and I made enchiladas.  Yummy!  Vegetarian Chili and cheese for me.  Chicken and Cheese for everyone else.  I gave Lins her wine charms and I got a awesome scarf that she knit for me!  She loved her wine charms and I equally love the scarf she knit.  I unfortunately did not take any pictures while they were over.

I had to go to work from 4-8 so I was able to get home in time to enjoy the rest of my Christmas Eve.  Our friends, Amber and Josh stopped by to pick up their presents from us. Cookies, etc. and a Christmas ornament.  They gave us our gifts a few days prior.  I got an awesome beanie!  Love it.  Josh and Amber decided to go on a cache with us.  This was their first cache.  We have told them all about Geocaching but they have never gone with us.  But before we went caching we decided to go to the local lake and check out the lights.

One of the islands at the local lake.

Craig and I.

Hi Frosty!

After the lake we looked at some lights on the way to the geocache.  This time we just did a drive-by.

One of the houses.

The cache was another night cache.  This time there is no scary story but we had an excellent time.  Josh had the awesome idea to bring hot chocolate with us so that is what we did.

Amber, Josh, me, and Craig toasting at the cache site with our hot chocolate.  Best idea EVER!!!

The lighting is bad but I wanted to try to show you what they used for this night cache.  These are fire tacks that glow in light.  So you go from one tree to the next shining your flashlight to see the next tree.  This is the final tree and the cache is pretty much right there.  I had a great Xmas eve with friends and especially at this fun cache.  I hope everyone else had a great time also.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Postcrossing 7!

This postcard has a personal connection to me.  It is from Slovenia the country my Grandfather, Frank, was born.  When he was born his birth city was in Poland but the borders changed after WWII.  My grandpa has always said he was Slovenian.  After some research I found out my grandfather was born in Novo Mesto.

The person that sent this postcard didn't write much on the back.  What was there was in another language and it is messy so I wasn't able to use an online translator.  I did some research on Koceje instead.  From the middle of the 13th to the middle of the 20th century Kocevje was a German linguistic enclave.  The language was a Bavarian dialect called Gottscheerish or Granish   The language is now considered endangered with very few native speakers left.  It is also the place where thousand of Nazi collaborators were executed by Tito and Partisans.  They were thrown into pits and caves that were then sealed with explosives.  

From:  Darja
Kocevje, Slovenia
Distance:  5,610 mi
(9,029 km)
Received:  November 27, 2009
Travel Time: 9 days

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm on a streak....

I just wanted to update everyone on my geocaching streak.  I am up to 146 days in a row!!!  It has been very difficult lately since I am running out of caches in the local area.  I also don't drive the 35 miles to school a few times a week which was giving me to find some non-local caches.  I am trying to get to 200 and then I am quitting!  I need a break.  There is a challenge cache that requires you to have 200 days before you grab the final.  I am looking forward to that grab.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Loggin' Country Gift-and-Greet II

It has taken me way too long to blog about my latest geocaching event.  I meant to do it much sooner but life has gotten in the way...studying for finals, taking finals, getting ready to move to a new house, work, etc.

The event in question is Loggin' Country Gift-and-Greet II (GC1ZBTV).  It involved exchanging geocaching related gifts via drawing and a cookie exchange.  I was actually able to talk Craig into going by telling him about the cookie exchange.  He got right on board once I mentioned that.  I talked to some local cachers and decided to carpool and get some caches on the way.

We met CascadesClimber and GeoMimi55 in the morning and headed on out.  We rode in their car since ours is always so messy!

This is Mt. St Helens.  We are used to seeing the Mt. from the southern or western side so it is always an amazing sight to see from the north.  You can really see the immense crater from the 1980 eruption.

Geomimi55 and Cascadesclimber posing for a picture near a cache site.

A few graves near a cache.  The mother of this family outlived her entire family.  Her husband and one of her kids actually died on the same day.  How sad!

This a dam near one of the caches we stopped at.

I liked how the plants seem to be taking over this old school bus.

Geomimi and I looking at the swag.

GeoMimi working the greeting table.

The host, Hoppingcrow(in the santa hat) talking to some of the guests.

Don't forget to sign the LOG!

From the left: TBs, cookies, gifts, guess the # of beans.

Gift exchange drawing.

I got to meet OhJoy!  I was very happy to finally meet her.  I enjoyed talking with her.

Craig and I had a great time caching with CascadesClimber and GeoMimi55.  When we moved to this area we found out very fast that they hide the most creative caches, they have the most found caches, and they get a lot of FTFs.  Craig and I sort of look up to them.  It was great to get out there and cache with them.  Turns out they pretty much cache the same way as us.  Not much of a surprise.

The event was a lot of fun.  We got a nano cache, an unactivated geocoin, a groundspeak logbook, and a pelican container in the gift exchange.  We also came home with some yummy chocolate chip cookies!  I was very excited to meet OhJoy!.  She is really nice.  We got to meet many other cachers at the event and also out looking for the local caches.  We also saw many familiar faces.  All and all it was a great day!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Postcrossing 6!

It has been awhile since I have posted one of my postcrossing postcards so here is the next postcard.  Vilnius is not only the largest city in Lithuania but it is also the capital.  There are more than 40 churches in Vilnius.  In 1995, the world's first bronze cast of Frank Zappa was installed in one of the Vilnius neighborhoods.

From:  Evelina
Vilnius, Lithuania
Distance:  5,240 mi.
(8,433 km)
Received:  November 23, 2009
Travel Time:  13 days

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Xmas Presents

Like many other people this year, I don't have a lot of money to spend on Christmas presents.  I have decided to make some presents this year.  I know a lot of other people are doing the same thing.  I thought that I would share some of my creations.  I can't show everything until after Christmas....

This is a cute stuffed puppy that I made for my niece, Zaida.  It is one of my first completed projects.  The most complicated project that I have attempted.  There are some mistakes but I think it turned out great anyway.

I made these wine charms for two of my friends.  They both like to drink wine so I thought that I would make them something special for their wine glasses.  I have not made these before but I think that they turned out well.  I will probably make more of these in the future.  They were super easy to make.

I am working on some more presents and hopefully I will have some more pictures soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nursing Orientation

Today I finished a two day orientation to the nursing program I am starting in January.  Two long days but I am glad that the school provided this orientation.  My situation is a little bit different than a lot of nursing students since I am an LPN and am reentering the nursing program partway through.

I think that I have written in a previous post that this is a stressful situation for me.  I have been out of the nursing program since April 2007 so it is quite an adjustment to get back in there.  I don't remember many skills or info that I haven't used since then.

The nursing orientation was pretty much a review session.  We went over nursing care plans (which I hate!).  We practiced IV skills, medication math problems, etc.  This takes such a weight off of my shoulders.  I am rusty on some of the math but overall it isn't bad.  I also was worried that they might want care plans to be done differently but it was pretty much the same.  I want to do some reading while on break to get back in the swing of things.  I am getting more excited though.  The light at the end of the tunnel is finally beginning to be visible.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Creative Being

Growing up my mom made a lot of clothes and things for us.  She sewed pillowcases and outfits.  I learned how to cross-stitch at a young age.  I liked to draw and make things.  Even if they weren't all that great.  I have started a new endeavour.

My mom is teaching me to sew.  I have wanted to learn for a long time.  I sewed with my mom a little bit but since I don't have a sewing machine of my own all my knowledge disappeared since I never used it.  My friend had a baby so I decided to make her son, Jacob, a baby quilt.  What a project to choose as my first project.  I have been working on it for a couple months and it is almost finished.  I only work on it every other Friday when my mom has off so it has been slow going.  I am excited to write a post with pictures once it is finished.  It is turning out great.

I also have many other projects I am working on.  I have a lot of pregnant/just given birth friends so I am making bibs and burp rags.  I also am making a stuffed dog for my niece, Zaida.  That is her Christmas present.  Most of these projects are near completion so I will not post pictures quite yet but know there are pictures to come.

I am excited to finally feel comfortable knowing I can create something.  My imagination is the limit.

Postcrossing 5!

This is a view of cat-lover's hometown, Aachen, Germany.  Aachen is a spa town along the border of Germany, Belgium, and Netherlands.  The Aachen Cathedral was the coronation church of 30 German kings and 12 Queens.  I imagine this is quite a tourist town.

From: cat-lover (no name given)
Aachen, Germany
Distance: 5,098 mi (8,205 km)
Received: November, 21, 2009
Travel Time: 5 days

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fall Quarter winding down....

My fall quarter of school is winding down.  In one week I have my Anatomy & Physiology final.  I am nervous but at the same time I am very glad to have this quarter finished.  I am ready for a quick break and then I start the LPN to RN nursing program at the local college.  Which has me very nervous but excited at the same time.  I am ready to finally finish my RN training.

I have a lot of things to get down before I start the nursing program but I am working on it.  I need to get books and uniforms.  I need to take a drug test.  I am starting to get anxious.  I need to just keep telling myself I can do it and take some deep breaths.

Sorry for the rant but I wanted to get it out of my system.  Thanks for listening (reading)!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Celebrate 1000!

I already wrote about finding my 1000th geocache but the next day (11/15/09) we had a Geocache event to celebrate (GC20C75).  What better way to celebrate than with the friends you have made through geocaching and a few friends you introduced to geocaching?

We gathered at a local pizza parlor for great pizza and of course great conversation.  We got to see some people we hadn't seen since the last caching event in our area and also meet some new people.  Here are a few pictures of the people who were there.

We also had some delicious cake (carrot cake!) we ordered from a local bakery.  Well worth the extra cost to go through a bakery.

We also had a drawing with some prizes donated by cachers and ourselves.  Quite a few people left with a prize.  I wish we had more to give out!

Like most events we had a table dedicated to the TB's.  There were several for trade and a few coins for people to discover.  Yes, those busts are TB's.  Their goal is to travel from event to event.

This is Craig and I with the portion of the cake that came off.  It is shaped like the Wheel of Fortune wheel and each space has a milestone # and the corresponding GC code for our milestone caches. Good thing we didn't DNF the cache we planned on finding for our 1000th!

Not only did we celebrate our 1000th find but we surprised one of our favorite cachers in the area (CascadesClimber) with a birthday cake.  He told his wife not to tell anyone it was his birthday because it was our celebration but we had to get him a cake of his own.  We sang him "Happy Birthday" and made him blow out his candles.  He isn't 28 at all....not sure how old he is but we do know he has grandchildren.

Overall, it was an excellent time had by all.  We are looking forward to the next event which is this weekend!  I will post about that one next week.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Postcrossing 4!

This is my favorite postcard so far.  It is so adorable.  Is there anything cuter than babies and puppies?  I really like the black and white postcards so far.

From: Sara
Galicia, Spain
Distance: 5,134 mi (8,263 km)
Received: November 20, 2009
Travel Time: 10 days

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Update on Leia

I called Craig while at work today and he told me that Leia's owner came and got her.  :(  Well, I am sad that she is gone but I am glad someone is very happy right now to have her cat back.  Someday we will get another cat and hopefully it is as great a cat as Leia was.

Leia the Stray Cat

In August, Craig found a stray cat outside of his work.  The cat ran under the car and Craig called out to her, "Here Kitty."  He didn't expect her to come but she ran straight to him!  He picked her up and she started purring and climbed up onto his shoulders.  We had been talking about getting a playmate for our cat, Luke, but hadn't gotten around to it.  Craig decided to bring her home.  We watched out for ads in Craigslist and the local paper without seeing anything.  She also had no collar so we figured she either didn't have owners or she didn't have owners that cared very much.  So she became our cat.

We talked about names for the kitty and being the nerds that we are we decided on Leia.  Luke and Leia our two cats.  Now we love Luke a lot but he just isn't a perfect cat.  He pukes all the time, he isn't very nice to people (us included sometimes), and he has seizures on occasion (obviously not his fault but it is scary to deal with).  Leia is not perfect either but she is very friendly to other people and us.  One bad thing about her is that she misses the litter box a lot and we find poop next to it instead of in it.  Very gross and annoying.  Leia has found a spot in our hearts though.

Now that I told you all the wonderful things about her and how much we love her on to the sad part of the story.  Last week, Craig was petting Leia as she was lounging on his chest and he noticed that Leia has a microchip.  We decided to do the right thing and we took her into the local Humane Society on Saturday.  We were hoping for the best (well, the best for us) since we wanted to keep her.  When the woman working opened our carrier she said, "I know this cat." Uh-oh.  " She took Leia out of the carrier and said, "Yep, this is Ricky Booby."  Leia is a unique cat.  She is all gray with a small amount of white on her neck, but what makes her really unique is the fact that she polydactyl.  Polydactyly is have extra fingers or toes.  Obviously, in Leia's case extra toes.  Since not many animals have extra toes she is easy to recognize.

It turns out that Leia's owner moved from her neighborhood and Leia jumped out of the truck.  We found her soon after this happened.  The owner has been coming into the Humane Society and calling often to see if she was brought in.  She actually used to work at the Humane Society and that is how she acquired Leia.  We learned that Leia's name previously was Ricky Booby.  I find this to be a very unfitting name for such a lovely cat.  The woman at the Humane Society is actually friends with the owner.  She called her up and gave her our phone number so she could call us and set up a time to pick up Leia  Leia came home with us until the owner can get her.

We set up a time to have her picked up yesterday and I was very upset all morning.  But low and behold the owner never showed up!  We called and left her a message about rescheduling but have not heard back from her yet.  Does the owner actually want her or not?

Craig called the Humane Society this morning to have them get a hold of the owner again.  We will see what happens and I will update you when we know what will happen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Postcrossing 3!

I thought I would publish another postcard today.  I don't plan on making a schedule of when I post since I never know when I will have the time.  It has still been just as exciting to receive my postcards.  I have two more postcards that I have received but I will upload on another day.

From: Lera
Mons, Belgium
Distance: 5,062 mi (8,147 km)
Received: November 16, 2009
Travel Time: 6 days

This postcard is very intriguing to me.  It was built for the International Exhibition of Brussels in 1958.  It is the major landmark of Brussels.  Quite a unique site!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seattle Geocaching Trip.....Our 1000th Geocache Find!

Craig and I have been planning this trip for about 1 month. It seems like we never get time off together and especially not to go caching. Since we are both in school usually homework comes before caching (at least for him!). We both took Saturday and Sunday off to celebrate this occasion. We decided to go to the Seattle area to find our 1000th(!) geocache.

I worked Friday night but was able to get most of the stuff together to prepare for this trip. I made the required pocket queries and got fixings for food while on the road. PB&Js and a couscous salad. I filled our caching backpack with fresh swag items. I brought my notebook that I keep track of my challenges and other cache info in. I was ready to go.

Craig and I woke up at a decent time and actually made it out of the house by about 9 am. If you know us then you know this is a major accomplishment. We usually say we will leave at a certain time and then we won't leave until about 2 hours after that time. We really need to work on that. I thought we did well this time with as little sleep as we had.

Our plan for the trip was to find 3 challenge caches that we have completed but needed to make the final find. This included the following caches: Fool's Errand-A Washington Challenge Cache (GC1HPN3), Cache By Numbers-Challenge Cache of Washington (GC16R01), The C5 Streak Challenge (GC1E0RB). We figured we would find all of these on one day so we wouldn't have to make a second trip if we didn't need to. So off we went.

The first cache we went to was Tacoma Travel Bug Vault (GCHPR1). There was not much to this one but we were able to drop off a TB and grab a geocoin.

Then we went to canine cache (GCHTJY). This cache was located in a dog park. Craig and I don't have a dog but wish that we did. We are big lovers of dogs so we were happy we got to see some to pet and love on. Here are a few pics from this cache.

Craig near the cache location. Cool, hollow tree.

This is a mushroom near the cache. It was broken and red inside. I thought that was odd.

This a view looking down onto the dog open sand area for the dogs to run around in.

On to the next cache: Cache By Numbers- Challenge Cache of Washington (GC16R01). This is a cache I talked about previously in my Geocaching challenges blog post. We of course parked in the wrong area and ended up walking a little ways to the cache location. The cache itself was not a hard one to find. A classic hide in these neck of the woods.

As we were leaving this cache a car pulled up. I wondered out loud if they were cachers. We continued on our way and I kept looking back as we were walking away. We saw them go right to the cache and then get back in their car. Cachers! I wish we would have waited so we could have met them but we had to keep going.

Next cache was an easy drive up cache at a pizza place. The cache was called I Wanna Rock! (GCT5YN). Not much to say about this one.

The next cache was one that I was really looking forward to because I worked so hard to make the requirements to find it. The cache is The C5 Streak Challenge (GC1E0RB). It is an unknown/challenge cache and I had to cache for 65 days straight before I was eligible for the find. We got to the cache location with the printout emailed to us by the cache owner prior to our trip up there. We looked high and low and were unable to find the cache. We were at the cache location for about 45 minutes or even an hour. We made the decision to leave because we wanted to find our 1000th cache before it became dark. That was a very hard decision but it turned out to be the right one to make. It turns out that we were at the wrong coords and that we were looking in the wrong spot! Oh well we will get it next time we make a trip that way.

Since we spent so much time at the last cache we made the decision to go for some easy ones to make sure we had time to get the last cache before dark. We drove to the next cache which was in a park.

Selena's Letterbox (GC163RQ) is a letterbox hybrid cache which means it has a letterbox aspect and also a geocaching aspect. I enjoy these and have an account on 2 letterboxing websites but don't usually go unless out caching. We do have a stamp and a book that we put the letterbox stamps into. The park had really nice trails to walk on.

The next cache was in the same park. The cache was called Communitas Hortus Ortus (GCV5F0). This cache was in great need of maintenance because it was very wet and rusty. We also found a letterbox about 1 foot from the cache!

The next cache was The little White Gazebo (GC1C814). It was at a gazebo in a shopping center next to a Starbuck's. It was a nano cache so it had the potential to be difficult but Craig found it fairly fast.

The next cache was behind the very same shopping center. Altoids cache (GCWV26) was a camoed altoids tin (Which I don't recommend in the rainy state of WA!). It was a quick and easy find which is just what we needed. The container was wet and rusty though.

On to the next cache which was one of my favorite types of hide. Kirkyard #2 (GC173ZG) is located in a cemetery! I love finding cemetery caches. I know that some people get creeped out by cemetery caches but I love them. As long as the cache is respectful of the graves I think it is wonderful to have caches in cemeteries. Okay, enough of my rant. This cemetery was very interesting.

A few of the interesting grave sites. The headstones were in another language. Unsure of what language it was.

The next cache we went to was Brackett's Landing (GC1M52F).  This cache was in a small little park on a river.  It had picnic tables and a few benches.  It looked like a great place to stop and sit during the summer.  This cache was small and was easy to find.

The next cache we went to was Fool's Errand-A Washington Challenge Cache (GC1HPN3).  This cache is the cache we planned to have be our 1000th cache find if all went well.  When we arrived to the cache location it was starting to get dark so we knew we had to find it fast or else we were going to have a really hard time.  It can be quite difficult find a cache in the forest when there are so many possible hiding spots.  Craig took the lead with the flashlight and I followed behind with the camera.  Luckily, Craig found it really easily.  So we found 1000!  I don't know how Craig felt about the moment but I felt a great sense of accomplishment with finding that many caches.  Not everyone can say they have found 1000.  

Craig right after he found the cache!

Our usual milestone picture.  Cache is in bottom right corner.

To round out the day we found one more cache on our way home. Freddy's (GCHWYH) was just a quick stop and grab so we had 12 caches for the day.  Since we found at least 1 puzzle cache that day and a total of 12 caches that made us eligible to find another challenge cache we had been working on: A Baker's Dozen Challenge Cache.  We will find that final cache another day.

Overall it was a great day of caching.  I got to spend some much needed time off with my hubby.  We made the milestone that we were working on and the specific cache that we planned on finding.  We did have the 1 DNF but that happens sometimes.  Now we go for 2,000!